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(Reuters) - Brazilian state oil company Petrobras won shareholder approval on Tuesday for one of the world's largest stock offerings, which will finance ambitious plans to pump billions of barrels of oil from deep beneath the ocean floor.
The vote paves the way for Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PETR3.SA) to issue as much as 150 billion reais ($84 billion) of new stock that has become the cornerstone of a plan to turn the country into a major energy exporter.
The capitalization plan further cements Brazil's determination to push ahead with the development of deep-water oil reserves that are seen as key to economic development, despite growing skepticism about offshore drilling sparked by BP's massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Petrobras has the world's largest exploration and production investment budget for 2010 and is the world's leader in deep water offshore operations.
MASSIVE OFFSHORE PLAN
Replenishing Petrobras' capital base is crucial for the company's $224 billion five-year investment plan, which focuses on developing the subsalt region, an area deep beneath the ocean floor under a thick layer of salt that may hold 50 billion barrels of oil, according to industry estimates.
Soros is taking advantage of the spread between the two types of U.S.-listed Petrobras shares, said Luis Maizel, president of LM Capital Group LLC, which manages about $4 billion. The common shares were 21 percent more expensive than preferred today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Soros boosted his stake in oil company Hess Corp. to 5.1 million shares as of June 30 from 3.7 million at the end of the first quarter, according to the filing. Hess was Soros’s second- largest holding. He also added to stakes in Houston-based Plains Exploration & Production Co. and bought shares in Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. and InterOil Corp. in Sydney.
Soros’s company oversees about $24 billion. His Quantum Endowment Fund returned 9.3 percent in the second quarter. Hedge funds gained an average of 9.1 percent during the period, according to data compiled by Hedge Fund Research Inc. in Chicago. The filing doesn’t reflect the Soros’s holdings in cash or other securities.
Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros, declined to comment on the holdings.
Soros cut his stake in Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., selling 4 million shares of the fertilizer producer while investing in Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed producer.
Soros’s biggest sale in the second quarter was his stake in ConocoPhillips, the second-largest U.S. refiner after he sold 4 million shares. The hedge fund also sold its stake in Macy’s Inc., the second-biggest U.S. department-store chain.
I just want to point out to the people earlier in the thread who were fresh off the Glenn Beck train and hopping mad about Obama cuddling up with Petrobras - it's completely untrue. The source of this blatant piece of disinformation originated from a silly chain email that somehow links Obama and taxpayer dollars to a commitment from the self-sustaining Export-Import Bank of the United States to Petrobras for a loan of up to $2billion in to finance exports. Factcheck.org points out that at the time of this loan agreement no Obama appointees sat on the board of the bank, but two Bush appointees were present. Furthermore, George Soros sold five million of his shares of Petrobras months before an deal was reached, seriously discrediting any notion that this is an Obama-Soros generated conspiracy. In fact, the president of the Export-Import Bank fully expects the loan to work in favor of the US by leading to the purchasing of US goods and services. Not to mention the prospects of a close oil ally with America.